Longtime player, coach, instructor will have number retired on June 10th by Southern Illinois
The Southern Illinois Miners proudly announce that they will retire uniform number 20 for Ralph Santana on Saturday, June 10th, prior to the Miners' game against the Joliet Slammers at 6:05 p.m. He will join Joey Metropoulos' #31 and Ryan Bird's #13 as the third number to be officially retired by the franchise.
An "original" Miner who has been with the organization in some capacity since the team's inception, Santana first came to the Miners as a player in the team's inaugural season of 2007, becoming a fan favorite and a postseason all-star second baseman, hitting .342 with 21 doubles, 126 hits (leading the Frontier League), 47 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He then transitioned to the dugout, becoming the team's hitting coach in 2008 and holding that title through the 2013 season. In the process, he was named the Frontier League Coach of the Year in 2012, helping to lead the Miners to their first championship that season.
The only person to ever wear #20 for Southern Illinois, Santana would continue to be part of the Miners in 2014 as the team's bench coach, and would also later fill in as the hitting coach in 2016. He has also worked as a special instructor for the team the last three years, specifically focusing on baserunning and infield play, and will continue to do so going forward.
Originally from Orlando, Florida, Ralph moved to Southern Illinois permanently in 2008, and
currently gives hitting lessons to hundreds of area baseball and softball players at the Ralph Santana Baseball Academy at Doc Z Sports in Du Quoin.
"This is such a well-deserved honor," Miners manager and COO Mike Pinto said. "Ralph has been such a critical part of ten consecutive winning seasons. His passion, his care for our organization and our players flows from who he is. It started with how talented he was as a player and how he played the game. Then, he showed that same passion as a coach. After two years as a player and nine years as a coach, Ralph can only be described as family, first to our organization, but mostly to me personally. I can not wait to be on the field to solidify this great honor."
"It's a great honor to have your number retired," Santana said. "I want to thank (owners) Jayne and John Simmons as well as Mike Pinto for giving me the opportunity- no words can express what you have done. I feel completely humbled and blessed."
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The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.